Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Multiple Murder / Suicide in California

CNN reports on the latest tragedy to strike.

A man distraught because he could not find work shot and killed his mother-in-law, his wife and three sons and then killed himself inside a home in an upscale San Fernando Valley neighborhood, police said.

How depressed would one have to be to do something like that? Although the article says there was no history of mental illness, could that man have appeared normal in the days preceding the tragedy? Do you think he would have killed his entire family of six people with a kitchen knife if he'd had no gun? I say the availability of the gun was a factor, and although I don't preach banning guns as a solution, I would suggest that gun proponents by their philosophy alone are, if not responsible for this, at least involved in it somehow.

On the site Kezins, there's a post today called How Bad Is the Economy. He says, "There’s a fundamental problem with society when people with MBAs can’t find jobs. I’m sure we’ll be reading about more suicides caused by the economy over the next year or two."

On Steve White's blog, Static and the Radio, there's a post accusing CNN of going too far.

On The Gun Guys blog, there's a bit of information that I didn't see on CNN.

Karthik Rajaram, 45, used a handgun he purchased on Sept. 16th to murder his family before killing himself.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I'm very sorry for the relatives and friends of the Rajaram family.


  1. Mike,

    I lost 2 jobs in 3 years to downsizing, so I can understand what this guy went through but some of it is bull.

    The man couldn't find work or he couldn't find work that wouldn't offend his dignity?

    I married 6 years ago and bought my house just over 4 years ago. One of the considerations on how much how to buy was simple. If I, highest paid, lost my job how much mortgage could we afford with me working at McDonalds or 7-11. I was out of work the last time for 2 months; at the end of the 3rd month, I would have been working someplace. Dignified or not.

    Yes, I think that he would have killed everyone with a kitchen knife or carbon monoxide or something. The firearm just made it more efficient. Stop blaming the tool.

    Why not blame the layoff or the cost of the rented house?

    Every day dozens of people misuse cars; they drink and drive, they speed, they follow too close, etc and etc. What restrictions are you going to put on cars to stop this abuse?

  2. Mike,

    Couldn't resist after I read this story.

    A 10-year-old boy was driving a car nearly 90 miles an hour moments before it crashed on Sunday, according to a Sullivan County Sheriff's Office report. Police responding to the accident found one woman "putting as many pills as she could in her mouth" while a man also arrested on the scene, Randy Lewis (pictured), admitted to drinking 15 beers, the report said.

    Story: The Sullivan County Sheriff's office believes a 10 year old was driving a car moments before it crashed Sunday on Flatwoods road in Sullivan County.

    Police responding to the accident found an overturned car, three children and two adults on the scene, according to a report released by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.

    The officers noticed that the adult female, Paula Elaine Evans, was standing in the roadway putting as many pills into her mouth as she could and swallowing them. The officers prevented her from taking anymore," the report stated.

    So, let's restrict cars; have background checks, maybe ignition -alcohol interlocks, waiting periods, have people have to possess a car owner card - different from a driver's license, one car a year limit-who needs more then one car a year anyways, etc.

    Would any of those measure have prevented the events in the news report?

  3. Anybody who doesn't believe it could be done with a kitchen knife has never been to one of the drunken reunions of the Irish side of my family.

    "I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do." -Robert A. Heinlein

    If more people thought like that, it'd be a better world. Those that can't think like that deserve death and custodial sentences.

  4. If "the devil made me do it" doesn't stand up in court "the easy availability to apparently stable people of firearms made me do it" doesn't wash either.

    Mikeb, how about we just get it over with and kill all humans because some have sociopathic tendencies, especially under stress? It'd save a lot of murders!

  5. Yeah, I gotta disagree. We can't really say that he wouldn't have done it with another device if he hadn't had a gun. I've read about murder suicides where families were stabbed or bludgeoned to death.

    And he might not have exhibited any behavior beforehand that would've tipped the family off. Often when people decide to commit suicide, they seem happy and at peace once they've finally made that decision.

    Even if the person showed obvious signs of depression beforehand, the family might interpret the sudden improvement in mood as their loved one "getting better."

    I think the article you quoted is right. Sadly, we might see an increase in this sort of thing as more people lose their jobs and homes (ie, the 90 year-old woman who shot herself rather than be evicted. Luckily she survived last I heard).

    Different people have different limits. Loss of a job might not push one person over the edge, but loss of a loved one or a failed relationship might. It's just unfortunate that he felt he had to take his family with him.

    That's what really fascinates me--how people can think that murdering their families is preferable to leaving them behind to fend without them and the hubris it must take to make that decision for them.

  6. Noted author Michael Z. Williamson might have a few words mikeb should read.

  7. Most especially READ these words:
    the ready availability of guns today, with only a few government forms, waiting periods, checks, infringements, ID, and fingerprinting, is responsible for all the school shootings, compared to the lack of school shootings in the 1950's and 1960's, which was caused by the awkward availability of guns at any hardware store, gas station, and by mail order."